Surgery is not simply a medical procedure. Surgery can also be a dissection – when absent of an intent to treat and correct, the procedure becomes a hungry curiosity to examine and investigate. At its purest, a dissection intricately probes to behold the internal. Kobylarz practices this surgery of delicate incisions in his mélange. The essence of a miscellany of diverse things is not merely to catalog a wunderkammer of everyday objects, but moreover to hold up a double mirror: one to reveal the interior lives of objects, and another to reflect the depths of their creators and owners. Kobylarz’s poetry may initially elevate the mundane, but its deepest design is to ask what the human possession divulges about the human being. The quotidian isn’t only ecstatic; the quotidian is a book of revelations.
Like Whitman listening to Kraftwerk, Michael J. Wilson’s A Child of Storm fuses the incandescent pulse of the forest with vivid projections of the life of Nikola Tesla. These currents turn together, a luminous aurora of sap, electricity, biography, and ecology in this profound collection of poems. Filaments of pine, electric chairs, fruit, and Faraday cages, A Child of Storm is a new transcendentalist triumph.
A Long Curving Scar Where the Heart Should Be unfolds on the unruly, mixed-race, queer-sexed margins of a conservative 1930s Southern town. In the wake of abandonment by her husband, an impoverished young midwife and her twin daughters create a hospice and sanctuary for the town’s outcasts within a deserted antebellum plantation house. The twins inhabit a fantastical world of ancient resistances, macabre births, glorious deaths, ravenous love affairs, clandestine sorceries, and secret madnesses—a site where the legacies of catastrophic injustice, bigotry, brutality, and grief contend with unquenchable desires for restitution, wholeness, sexual liberty, and lives of freedom outside the chokeholds of racism, misogyny and social constraint. Overshadowed by lingering scandals of miscegenation, the persistence of searing endemic violence, and a troubling secrecy surrounding their father’s disappearance, the women begin to walk into the discomforting limitations of their myths and wounds, and create their own new maps of sexual and personal fulfillment, resilience, and transformation. When the town claims that he is closer than they think, the women must decide whether his reappearance would offer wholeness, or unbearable consequences to their own hardfought, courageous journeys towards existential insurrection.